“Ayurveda has evolved from the folk medicine”: Tribal medicinal practices and more – Medicine and Life Sciences in India (review)

Review: Medicine and Life Sciences in India. Subbarayappa, B. V. (Ed.) 2001. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Pp: 771. Price not given.

by D.P. Agrawal & Lalit Tiwari

Of late the West is veering round to the Alternative Medicine Systems, as allopathy has failed to cure the serious diseases afflicting mankind. No wonder that the global herbal trade has peaked to about $60 billion and is growing at the rate of 10% annually. India has very ancient medicine systems, both in the literate and the folk traditions, and gradually their worth is being recognised globally.

Diseases are the bane of humankind ever since its advent on this planet. Humans have been fighting against a variety of diseases since prehistoric times. Eventually humans developed indigenous local systems of medicine. Indian medicine system is very ancient. Right from the Indus Valley Civilization, the evidence for the existence of a medicine system can probably be traced from the archaeological remains of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The Harappan people used plant drugs, animal products and minerals. […]

Sathyanarayana Bhat presents a very lucid paper, “Folk Medicine in India” in this edited volume. No doubt that Ayurveda has evolved from the folk medicine. In his article he summarises the data on traditional herbalists, healers, snakebite healers, kitchen medicine, traditional midwifery, tribal medicinal practices, etc.

Source: Review: Medicine and Life Sciences in India
Address : http://www.indianscience.org/reviews/t_rv_agraw_medicine.shtml
Date Visited: 5 March 2022

“It was assumed that tribal people have same health problems, similar needs and hence the uniform national pattern of rural health care would be applicable to them as well, albeit with some alteration in population: provider ratio. The different terrain and environment in which they live, different social systems, different culture and hence different health care needs were not addressed.” – Abhay Bang in Report of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health >>

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Adivasi communities traditionally depended on the forest for all their nutritional needs. They subsisted mainly on fruits, vegetables, tubers, fish, small game as well as the occasional crop they grew, predominantly coarse grains. However, as time passed and the nature of, as well as their access to, forests changed, their diet started becoming deficient. […]

This deficiency started manifesting in the form of rampant malnutrition, among adults and children alike, underweight babies as well as high maternal mortality [and] increased susceptibility to Tuberculosis among the Adivasis.

Blog post “Gardening their way to Good Health” by ACCORD – Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development (Accordweb, 14 March 2017) | Backup file:

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